The base Nissan Leaf has a 40 kWh battery and an EPA range of 149 miles. And now it is available for just $28,375, including the $975 destination charge, according to Green Car Reports. Nissan buyers are still eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs, which could lower the price to a $20,875. State and local incentives could get the purchase price into the upper teens.
But wait, there’s more. Nissan has announced a new lease program that is pretty spectacular. $89 a month with $1,449 due at signing for a low mileage (10,000 miles a year) lease. For a brand new car? Are you kidding me? Yeah, it’s a city car, not a road trip car. But unless you drive more than 149 miles a day on a regular basis, it’s all the car you need. You can even plug it in to a standard 110 volt outlet in your garage and eliminate the cost of adding a charger.
And hold on people. This is not a strippo, hide it out back at the dealership next to the dumpster, kind of car. It comes with several features that used to be extra cost options — CHAdeMO DC fast charging, a 240 volt charging cable, plus a number of items from Nissan’s Technology Package including ProPilot Assist and a 360-degree camera system.
So is this the best thing since ice cream? It depends on you and your driving needs. The LEAF is a fine car. I have owned a 2015 model for the past three years and absolutely love driving it. It’s peppy, has regenerative braking, a comfortable ride, and a hatch in the back that can swallow larger items. After learning about electric cars from driving the LEAF, my wife and I have ordered a new Tesla Model Y, but I will miss my LEAF. It has been a really good car, once you learn to accept its limitations.
The biggest limitation is range. 149 miles is still not a lot and charging away from home may be an issue. Not every charging station offers a CHAdeMO connection and even if you can find one, your LEAF may take longer to charge than you hoped because it has passive air flow cooling for the battery pack. Charging creates heat, the cooling system can’t deal with, and so the charging rate is throttled by the battery management system to keep the battery from overheating.
It’s not the ideal situation, and moving forward, CHAdeMO is on its way out. Nissan is the only manufacturer to use it in America and even it is switching to the CCS standard for the new Ariya. So that fast charging capability has to have an asterisk associated with it. But if you lease, who cares? At the end of the two years, you give the car back and step up to a new EV with double the range.
If you don’t put on a lot of miles (my LEAF has averaged 5,400 miles a year since I bought it) this new lease deal is a no-brainer. Just be aware that if you lease, the federal tax credit goes to the company, not to you. Your state may add sales tax to your lease payment, which will be based on the MSRP of the car, and your city or town may add local property taxes as well. You may want to clarify those details with the dealer before you drive away in your new chariot to avoid surprises down the line.
The new pricing is for the base Leaf S trim level. The upgraded SV is priced at $29,775. There is also the LEAF Plus, which comes with a 62 kWh battery, a more powerful motor, and an EPA range of 226 miles. Frankly, that is a disappointing number of miles for a car with that size battery and you are still saddled with passive cooling and the soon to be obsolete CHAdeMO fast charging.
Nissan also offers the Leaf Plus, with a 62-kwh battery pack, maximum 226-mile range (on the S Plus trim level), and a more powerful motor, rated at 214 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. Pricing starts at $33,375 for the lowest S Plus trim level, while SV Plus and SL Plus models start at $36,375 and $38,375.
If you are on the fence about electric cars, the 2022 LEAF S is an inexpensive way to drive one risk-free. Lease it and walk away when the 2 years is up. No worries about battery degradation or owning a car that is out of warranty. The LEAF may not be the greatest electric car of all time, but it is a competent daily driver that will still put a smile on your face when you leave that bellowing muscle car beside you in the dust when the light turns green.
Think of it as a gateway drug to an EV addiction. Don’t worry. Drive happy!